Act III - Act III, Scene VII
BEN, and MISS PRUE.
BEN. Come mistress, will you please to sit down? for an you stand a stern a that'n, we shall never grapple together. Come, I'll haul a chair; there, an you please to sit, I'll sit by you.
MISS. You need not sit so near one, if you have anything to say, I can hear you farther off, I an't deaf.
BEN. Why that's true, as you say, nor I an't dumb, I can be heard as far as another,--I'll heave off, to please you. [Sits farther off.] An we were a league asunder, I'd undertake to hold discourse with you, an 'twere not a main high wind indeed, and full in my teeth. Look you, forsooth, I am, as it were, bound for the land of matrimony; 'tis a voyage, d'ye see, that was none of my seeking. I was commanded by father, and if you like of it, mayhap I may steer into your harbour. How say you, mistress? The short of the thing is, that if you like me, and I like you, we may chance to swing in a hammock together.
MISS. I don't know what to say to you, nor I don't care to speak with you at all.
BEN. No? I'm sorry for that. But pray why are you so scornful?
MISS. As long as one must not speak one's mind, one had better not speak at all, I think, and truly I won't tell a lie for the matter.
BEN. Nay, you say true in that, it's but a folly to lie: for to speak one thing, and to think just the contrary way is, as it were, to look one way, and to row another. Now, for my part, d'ye see, I'm for carrying things above board, I'm not for keeping anything under hatches,--so that if you ben't as willing as I, say so a God's name: there's no harm done; mayhap you may be shame-faced; some maidens thof they love a man well enough, yet they don't care to tell'n so to's face. If that's the case, why, silence gives consent.
MISS. But I'm sure it is not so, for I'll speak sooner than you should believe that; and I'll speak truth, though one should always tell a lie to a man; and I don't care, let my father do what he will; I'm too big to be whipt, so I'll tell you plainly, I don't like you, nor love you at all, nor never will, that's more: so there's your answer for you; and don't trouble me no more, you ugly thing.
BEN. Look you, young woman, you may learn to give good words, however. I spoke you fair, d'ye see, and civil. As for your love or your liking, I don't value it of a rope's end; and mayhap I like you as little as you do me: what I said was in obedience to father. Gad, I fear a whipping no more than you do. But I tell you one thing, if you should give such language at sea, you'd have a cat o' nine tails laid cross your shoulders. Flesh! who are you? You heard t'other handsome young woman speak civilly to me of her own accord. Whatever you think of yourself, gad, I don't think you are any more to compare to her than a can of small-beer to a bowl of punch.
MISS. Well, and there's a handsome gentleman, and a fine gentleman, and a sweet gentleman, that was here that loves me, and I love him; and if he sees you speak to me any more, he'll thrash your jacket for you, he will, you great sea-calf.
BEN. What, do you mean that fair-weather spark that was here just now? Will he thrash my jacket? Let'n,--let'n. But an he comes near me, mayhap I may giv'n a salt eel for's supper, for all that. What does father mean to leave me alone as soon as I come home with such a dirty dowdy? Sea-calf? I an't calf enough to lick your chalked face, you cheese-curd you: --marry thee? Oons, I'll marry a Lapland witch as soon, and live upon selling contrary winds and wrecked vessels.
MISS. I won't be called names, nor I won't be abused thus, so I won't. If I were a man [cries]--you durst not talk at his rate. No, you durst not, you stinking tar-barrel.